What Will the San Antonio Spurs Do When Gregg Popovich Walks Away?

A generation of basketball fans in San Antonio have known just two things for the last 17 seasons—winning and head coach Gregg Popovich.

Gregg Popovich is known for being kind of a gruff individual. He doesn’t seem to smile very much and has become known for giving some of the shortest and funniest interviews in the game. He has also managed to keep the Spurs at or near the top of the NBA hierarchy for close to two decades.  

That kind of success brings just one question to mind—not to be a naysayer,  but when will it all end?

The obvious answer would be when Tim Duncan and Popovich leave; something that could happen any season now. In the past Popovich has said he was going to stay around as long as Duncan does. For his part Duncan says he’s taking it game by game.

Both have won all the individual honors to go with the championship rings so there is nothing but a love of the game and maybe the desire for one more ring keeping them in. Since a love for the game is something that never dies it is quite likely another championship—something they could very well win this season.

So if they do does that mean the San Antonio Spurs are done? Are they going to fall from their lofty height and become just another franchise?

Not if the franchise sticks with what has worked for the last 17 years.

To do that they will need to stick with someone from Popovich’s current coaching staff as his replacement. Since he has two guys on staff that have been with him for years—Chad Forcier(8yrs) and Chip Engelland(10yrs)—they know how to coach ‘Pop Ball.’

The NBA has been picking from the Popovich Tree or years so there is something to be said for his methods. Last season there were 14 head coaches and chief executives active in the NBA. Now all of them have not achieved comparable success to Popovich, but they have often not had the personnel either.

Going outside of the organization is a possibility as well, but should that happen the new coach will likely bring in his own staff. It’s an understandable move, but it would also be like trying to fix something that is not broken.

San Antonio currently owns the best record in the league and is a favorite to return to the NBA Finals for the second year in a row. With the way that the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are playing right now there is no guarantee that either of them will make it meaning the Spurs should win it all (barring an upset).  

So we may find out if an era is coming to an end in the next couple of months—and how the franchise plans on starting the next one.

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